Aggressive problem solver makes environmental impact on Fort Stewart

By Thomas Milligan (USAEC)May 30, 2023

Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Qualified Recycling Program places Recycling Convenience Centers in high-traffic areas to increase awareness and participation. These centers are open for anyone living on or off post.
Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Qualified Recycling Program places Recycling Convenience Centers in high-traffic areas to increase awareness and participation. These centers are open for anyone living on or off post. (Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

To call Tressa Rutland that go-to-person for environmental and sustainability issues at Fort Stewart Hunter Army Airfield is pretty much spot on.

The list of accomplishments she spearheaded recently at the installation reads like a to-do-list for critical projects, and her success rate is unmatched. She is also credited with helping to build the right balance between environmental stewardship and supporting the vital training mission at the installation.

“Tressa Rutland is an aggressive problem solver, a get-it-done sort of person who collaborates, innovates and focuses her energies on projects that, taken together, have made a huge impact on the environment here at this installation,” said Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Garrison Commander Col. Manny Ramirez.

The development of a hands-on EQCC meeting format has provided command and staff, and other attendees with a better understanding of environmental compliance and sustainability efforts on the installation. At a recent EQCC, the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Garrison Commander, Col. Manny Ramirez, assisted with a Terra Torch demonstration.
The development of a hands-on EQCC meeting format has provided command and staff, and other attendees with a better understanding of environmental compliance and sustainability efforts on the installation. At a recent EQCC, the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Garrison Commander, Col. Manny Ramirez, assisted with a Terra Torch demonstration. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

Rutland maintained oversight of the “Purple Pipe” partnership with the City of Hinesville, which saved the installation 20.5 million gallons of potable water through efficient reuse of water for irrigation and industrial purposes. The partnership program in total has saved more than 530 million gallons.

She led the modification and retrofitting of four projects to improve stormwater quality at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield. These projects were improved to retain and infiltrate peak flows for 1-year, 25-year and 100-year storm events and to not only reduce the stormwater but the pollutant distribution within these storm events.

Rutland spearheaded successful stewardship campaigns that realized a cost avoidance for solid waste disposal averaging $3 million a year over the last three fiscal years. Through awareness and command emphasis, the installation has steadily been improving its diversion rates since it’s Recycling Processing Station came online in Fiscal Year 2004, meeting and exceeding all diversion goals through Fiscal Year 22 when it diverted 63% municipal solid waste and 83% construction and demolition waste for an overall diversion of nearly 73% from its on-post landfills.

She facilitated projects to harden approximately three miles of tank trail at eight stream crossings on installation training grounds, bringing the total tank trail hardening at 22 miles and 58 stream crossings and dramatically improving the usability and long-term sustainability of vital training grounds.

She also began planning an additional 18 stream crossing projects, worth over $4.5 million. These new projects will eliminate the costly use of herbicide at observation points, significantly reduce long-term operation and maintenance costs and ensure weather conditions do not impeded access to critical live fire facilities.

“She is a dynamic leader with a vast understanding of what it takes to ensure that Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield's environmental sustainability and readiness are not mutually exclusive,” said Ramirez. “By being proactive, planning for the future, and forging strong relationships throughout the installation, community, and regulatory arena, she has cemented her reputation as an environmental leader.”